Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
This client had a new home and wanted some ideas on decorating. She was frustrated because they had a beautiful home but somehow, it just wasn't coming together. She had purchased and returned many items when finally she called me to help her stage her home. She wanted to surprise her husband when he came back from a business trip. Staging is not only for selling your home, but even better when you want to live in your home. In the same way you might go to a new hair salon for a new hairstyle, staging allows you to show off your home to it's best ability and to show off your own personal style. Sometimes, we have all of the right things, we just need help in pulling it all together. This is how I did it.
In the before photos, the room isn't very inviting. The curved sofa is against the wall with a baby rocker. On the east wall, the cat condo sits in front of the window and the chair sits in the corner of the room making conversation with someone on the sofa difficult. The bookshelf leans against the wall but doesn't relate to the living room and there isn't any flow or continuity from the living room to the dining room.
On the plus side, the furniture is nice. The client stated she didn't care for the sofa and she would be fine if we replaced it. The house had recently been painted so every room is ready to go. All of the paint coordinates with the furniture and the client has nice accessories. Most of the errors, so to speak in this room, have to do with furniture placement.
After the living room was completed, the homeowner only needed to purchase two items. I recommended a tall wrought iron lamp for the southwest corner of the room and a circular glass top for the end table. (We had used a rectangular top from another end table in the house until she could purchase a circular one.)
Powder Room Before (without the rug).
Powder Room After (With the rug from the foyer.)
Master Bedroom After-See below.
The homeowner loved the changes. More importantly, I used nearly everything she already had and things that she picked out previously. I did all of these changes in one "four hour" session. More importantly, she called the next morning and said her husband returned from his business trip and was "blown away" with their new living room. He liked it so much, they hired me to do the rest of their home. I have since made furniture and design recommendations for the rest of their home and they have purchased many of the items I recommended. The husband commented that they had tried using two different designers to help them pull together their home and yet they liked this the best.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I remember when Dear Son was a little boy. It was always hard around Christmas trying to find the right toys for him. It seemed like my life was forever entrenched in the Toys R Us aisle for kids 0-12 months. Year after year, that was my aisle. When Dear Son was a baby, he never hit any of his milestones. Even after that, the milestones were few and far between. Shopping for Christmas toys was a reminder of that. As his chronological age grew, his developmental age remained the same.
When Dear Son missed his milestones, I began to write him a letter from Santa that I would put in his stocking. The letter would highlight the one or two things that Dear Son accomplished that year, with glowing words of praise from the one and only Santa. It was a reminder of sorts, that we were moving forward and that while his accomplishments may be small, they were accomplishments, nonetheless. Each year, the letter would be written on a colored sheet of construction paper and placed in his stocking. And every year, the letter would end the same way, “All my love, Santa.” Some years, I’d write the letter at three a.m., after I came home from singing in the church choir for midnight mass. Other years, it was done sooner. I am not sure who the letter was really for, if it was for him or if it was for me, but it worked.
On Christmas day, or sometimes even a day later, I would sit Dear Son on my lap, and we’d look in his stocking for the letter. I’d read the letter to him and he just loved it. More often than not, we’d read the letter over and over. He seemed to enjoy it as much the fifth time, as he did the first. Although the letter was short on accomplishments, it was big on love.
Somewhere along the way, I stopped writing the letters from Santa. I am reminded of them when I hang the stocking or when I look through his memory box. But this Christmas, the memory of that letter, keeps coming back.
At the beginning of the year, Dear Son would sit up in his rocker, his head pressed against the window, and look out the patio door. He’d watch the ducks, birdies and ground squirrel that would come up to eat the bird seed. Over time, he began to fall over to his right side. After repeatedly sitting him back up in his rocker, I began to move the rocker over to the dining room table. It was there he would listen to his music, with his head lying on the table. Soon, the image of his head against the window looking out, was just a distant memory.
Over the last few weeks, he began to cry out when he was at the table. He could no longer sit up for more than an hour and a half and needed to lie down. The first time it happened, I thought he might be tired or getting sick, but now, I know we are heading down the path, losing skills along the way. Saturdays are the worst. Just this Saturday, he was up from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and then had to lie down and slept until I got him up from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. It’s almost like clockwork now. He hits the ninety minute mark and he cries out to let me know he needs to lie down. Once he’s in his bed, he smiles at me, as if to thank me, then quickly falls asleep. The house is quiet, too quiet for a weekend. It feels lonely too.
As Christmas approaches, I am reminded of those letters to Santa, each with the little milestones. The milestones, that took years in the making, are going away, and going away quickly. I am missing my Dear Son already. It’s too early for a silent night.
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